Saturday, September 22

Musings On Consumerism

Available at AmazonSometimes I worry about the effects of consumerism on society.

In real terms, how much do we need? Civilizations were fat and happy in the past with a lot less than we have now. What force is it that drives us so hard? Is it as simple as status or greed?

Every day, people profess that the important things in life are truly simple things such as enjoying the company of family and friends. How can this be squared with the ridiculous spending behavior and subsequent need to earn vast incomes to then pay for it all?

Can this possibly tap into some age old instinct to hunt, to gather, and to provide? Or, instead, is our society simply built up on a house of mirrors created by manipulative messages which serve no purpose but to feed desires for things we don't actually need?

I certainly don't know.

However, I do have an insight or two based on experiences from my past. I know that no matter where I travel, or no matter what I purchase or own, I am basically the same person. Whether or not I am a happy person with a positive outlook on life comes from inside, not outside.

Sure, I can hear you now. You there, with a substantial inability to meet your financial obligations, I've been through your situation. I'm not talking to you as someone who's ridden a wave of good fortune all of my life. Seriously, believe me when I tell you that resources can certainly alleviate some sources of stress and remove a few things that lead to being unhappy, but the sad news is that removing sources of unhappiness, or amusing yourself with expensive toys, does not make you happy.

Such things are mere distractions.

How many of us are simply busy amusing ourselves, distracted, as life passes us by, while we strive for the next rung? How many of us get so busy reaching for the next rung that we don't see the end coming before it is too late to spend some time enjoying what we all believe is truly important?

I have one final question. Am I writing this for your benefit or mine?

Frugal Guy said...
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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a new reader to your blog .... I don't know anything about you other than what I have read today but something that strikes me is that your thoughts appear to be long to someone of around 50? The age we ask ourselves what is the meaning of life or what is it all about!

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

hmmm-I know that the advertising messages do have something to do with it. I seem to want less and be more satisfied with my life the less TV and magazines that I read/watch. . . .

Mrs. Micah said...

Hmm indeed. I've been trying to be consciously happy with what I have instead of looking around for something new outside myself to make me happy. Sometimes it works.

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Anon, I'm certainly not 50, but I often have been accused of thinking beyond my years every now and then.

On a more serious note, there are situations that make you reflect on the "bigger questions", no matter your age.

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Jenn, I have to agree. Now that I've been accused of being 50, I'll have to use a childhood example to make my point!

When I was little, I remember watching cereal commercial, and I remember being so dissappointed that breakfast wasn't as fun for me as it appeared on the commercial.

Heh, I guess I started musing about consumerism and commercialism when I was 5. :)

Frugal Guy said...

Mrs. Micah,

I hear that. On the consumerism front, I think we all get so used to change, to needing new things, that we often stop appreciating the things we've already had for a while.

I'm particularly suspect of all the "must have" items out there. I guess I'm lucky to have a very inexpensive hobby that I enjoy. I only wish my muse would deliver more inspiration more often!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful philosophy. Age has nothing to do with it. People live and learn. When you are young and immature the Madison Avenue fantasy appeals to many but, in truth it is not realistic. If people tried to live like that all the time they would be very unsatisifed. Keeping up with the Jonese's (as they say) would lead to a premature death and a debt nightmare. People can do well with less. They say now less is more. Sastisfaction is living within your means and getting good medical care. Medical insurance and seeing a Dr. bring happiness. If greed and materialism is someone's goal they will be very disappointed. True sucess is good health and living within your means. You can't take money and materials with you when you die. Good luck. Annette If you can live that way then you are the lucky few and I wish you the best everyone!!!

Anonymous said...

I failed to mention that your blog benefits not only you but, everyone. Thanks and have a great week Annette P.S. You may want to do a book one day and publish your ideas!!!

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Annette, thank you. I am actually thinking about trying to compile this all into a book at some point. We'll see. Thinking about it is the easy part.

Anonymous said...

Good luck. Frugal living is a more obtainable, realistic approach to living!! I am proud to be frugal. Annette